Tag Archives: Archbishop Vigneron

Archbishop of Detroit Endorses St. Paul Street Evangelization

vigneron-bishop

St. Paul Street Evangelization has received endorsement  from His Excellency Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, Michigan.

You can read the commendation in full here, and find information on the growing Catholic street evangelization movement below…

catholictruth581413_304289676354835_701252669_n.jpgSt. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) is a grassroots, non-profit organization, dedicated to responding to the mandate of Jesus to preach the Gospel to all nations by taking the Catholic Faith to the streets. Christ’s call to evangelize was made to every Catholic Christian, and the Second Vatican Council reiterated this need, urging each of the baptized to bring the Gospel, found fully in the Catholic Church, to a culture that has largely reverted to paganism. As an on-the-street Catholic evangelization organization, St. Paul Street Evangelization provides an avenue for people to share the Person of Jesus Christ and the truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith with a hungry culture.

Founded in May 2012, St. Paul Street Evangelization provides the tools and resources for Catholics to engage the culture in a simple, non-confrontational method of evangelization which involves making themselves available to the public to answer questions about the faith and to pray with those who request it. SPSE has had tremendous growth and now has teams throughout the United States and even internationally, such as in the Philippines and Australia.

But a person might ask, “How can lay people evangelize the Catholic faith so publicly? Isn’t that the job of priests and bishops?” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, ‘that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.’ For lay people, ‘this evangelization acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world’” (CCC 905). As a lay apostolate, St. Paul Street Evangelization works in fidelity and obedience to the Catholic Church and her Magisterium.

Armed with a simple sign, pamphlets and Rosaries, SPSE evangelists take to the streets, going wherever people are gathered – on a street corner, at a festival, or even at a football game. Our teams always begin in prayer. Unlike some forms of street evangelism which seek to forcibly proselytize those passing by (for example, by yelling, displaying confrontational signs, or preaching loudly at no one in particular), SPSE employs a non-confrontational method, maintaining a peaceful presence and allowing people to approach if they choose. Initial contact is limited to a friendly greeting and an offer of a free Rosary, but the evangelist never tries to force anyone to stop and talk.

St. Paul Street Evangelization has found this non-confrontational approach to be very effective at strengthening the faith of practicing Catholics, bringing back into the Faith fallen away Catholics, and clearing up misconceptions about the Faith held by non-Catholics.  While it is the mission of SPSE to work with God for the conversion of the whole world to the Catholic Faith, SPSE evangelists recognize that it is only their job to plant seeds, and in the end, it is up to God to make those seeds grow.

The goal of St. Paul Street Evangelization is not to win arguments but to share the love of Jesus Christ with a hurting culture that is seeking truth. SPSE recognizes that to be an effective witness for Christ and His Church, one must seek to live a holy life. As Pope Paul VI wrote in Evangeli Nuntiandi, “For the Church, the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life … ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’” (41). To this end, SPSE seeks a membership of evangelists who take their Catholic Faith seriously and are striving for personal sanctity.

When out on the streets, the evangelists of SPSE share the hope that is in them so that the world sees the salvation of God through the Church that He founded. They do not evangelize because they have done any great thing, but because God has done a great work in them, and for that, they are humbled. A person does not need to be a theologian or professional apologist to be an effective evangelist.  He only needs to have a heart for Jesus Christ and His Church and be willing to share that with others.

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The St. Paul Street Evangelization national office offers:

  • Team Development and Coordination – Visit the Locations page to find a team near you. If there is not a team in your area, or if you would prefer to start a new one of your own, SPSE will help you coordinate your efforts with other local evangelists and provide all of the resources and information that you need to get started.
  • Online Evangelist Training and Certification – SPSE offers a training course in catechesis and evangelization to help you learn the language of the Church and what she expects of her evangelists. SPSE certifies its evangelists who have completed the training and have experience out on the street. Each local Team Director is required to take these catechetical courses but SPSE encourages all Catholics to take them as well, even if they do not intend to become a street evangelist.  SPSE also offers live training for groups that are interested.
  • Materials for local teams – SPSE provides signs, Rosaries, CDs, business card templates, and other materials to each local team.
  • Free printable pamphlets – Teams have access to more than 20 pamphlets on the Catholic faith that will help them with their evangelization efforts.
  • Website – Every local team is provided with a free website to help the members to coordinate their efforts.
  • Media – Local teams can access press releases, public service announcementstelevision and radio interviews, archived news stories, and other media related resources at the national website.
  • Evangelization and Catechetical Blog – A team of evangelists writes on timely topics addressing issues related to evangelization, catechesis, apologetics, and the Church.
  • Information about SPSE – Visit the website, watch the YouTube videos, read stories of street evangelists in action, find out more about the organization, and join the Facebook page.
  • Prayer Warrior Group – Evangelists can rely on the support of our prayer group of hundreds of Catholics who intercede for their intentions and their work on the streets.
  • Apologetics Group – Evangelists can sharpen their apologetics skills by joining thousands of other Catholics in the SPSE apologetics group on Facebook.

Get Involved Today!

If you would like to get involved with a SPSE in your area, or would like to learn more about starting a team of your own, visit the Get Involvedpage and fill out the form.  St. Paul Street Evangelization also encourages every Catholic to join the conversation by following them on Facebookand Twitter, and by joining thousands of other Catholics in their Prayer Warrior and Apologetics Groups on Facebook where you can learn more about the Holy Catholic Faith and pray for the conversion of the culture.

Values:

St. Paul Street Evangelization is committed to bringing about the conversion of our culture by presenting the truth of the Catholic Faith and is faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by the Magisterium.

Patrons:

The patrons of St. Paul Street Evangelization are St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, and Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

St. Paul Street Evangelization is consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

 

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Detroit Archbishop releases Q & A document addressing errors of dissidents and American Catholic Council

Responding to concerns raised by the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council (ACC), the Archdiocese of Detroit issued an advisory to its priests and parishes on October 12, 2010. The group has planned a national gathering in Detroit on the weekend of Pentecost 2011. Noting that the ACC and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the Roman Catholic Church, the advisory cautioned Catholics “…against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering.” The advisory noted the goals of the ACC are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There are positions espoused by some of the speakers and organizers which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith. What follows is a resource document addressing this matter in greater detail.

Questions and Answers
Regarding the American Catholic Council

1. The American Catholic Council is being held on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. Are the positions taken by the ACC consistent with the teachings of Vatican II?

Answer: No.
While the ACC upholds some general values affirmed by Vatican II, there are explicit departures from what the Council actually taught. For example, the Preamble to the ACC’s “Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities [CBRR]” states that “distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary,” but Vatican II teaches that “the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood differ from one another in essence and not only in degree.”[i] The ACC’s “Declaration for Reform and Renewal” seeks “reform of the governing structures of the Church so that they reflect the better aspects of the American experience” and “a democratic spirit.” Vatican II, however, affirms the “perpetuity” of the hierarchical structure of the Church, which is realized in “the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff”[ii] and “the sacred order of bishops” who have succeeded to the place of the apostles “by divine institution.”[iii] The ACC affirms an alleged “freedom to dissent” from Church teachings (CBRR, no. IV), but Vatican II instructs the faithful to manifest “faithful obedience”[iv] to the Church’s Magisterium and “religious submission of will and intellect” to the teachings of the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.[v]

2. The American Catholic Council is being held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Call to Action Conference held in Detroit. Is the American Catholic Council in historical continuity with the original Call to Action conference held in Detroit, October 20-23, 1976?

Answer: No.
The 1976 Call to Action conference was sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops in conjunction with U.S. Bicentennial of 1976. During the conference, however, special interest groups began to dominate, a reality noted by then Archbishop Joseph L. Bernardin of Cincinnati, the president of the NCCB/USCC.[vi] Subsequently, the NCCB/USCC distanced itself from Call to Action. Some Catholics, though, formed an organization called “Call to Action,” which continued without episcopal support. When a Call to Action conference was organized in Detroit in 1996, Cardinal Adam Maida issued a statement, which warned that “the overall climate of the conference creates the appearance of dissent from Church teaching and practice.”

3. Do some of the invited speakers to the ACC conference hold positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
All of the invited keynote speakers have manifested dissent from Catholic teachings or support for dissenters. Hans Küng has rejected Vatican I’s defined dogma of papal infallibility, and in 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that he “could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian.”[vii] Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez endorsed a letter in support of Rosemary Radforth Ruether’s appointment to a Catholic Chair at the University of San Diego, even though Ruether is a board member of “Catholics for Choice,” an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on the grave immorality of abortion.[viii] Dr. Anthony Padovano has questioned the physical resurrection of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the need for an ordained priest to celebrate a valid Mass. He is also active in promoting an “ecumenical alliance” of various schismatic “Catholic” groups such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC).[ix] James Carroll is the author of the 2001 book, Constantine’s Sword, which calls for a reconsideration of traditional Christology because affirming Jesus as the Messiah is, according to him, intrinsically linked to anti-Semitism.[x] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is on record as publicly opposing Catholic teaching against legal abortion, and she chastised the U.S. bishops for their determination to make abortion illegal “even if it derails health-care reform entirely.”[xi] Sr. Joan Chittister is an open advocate of women’s ordination to the priesthood in spite of the definitive Catholic teaching on this subject.[xii] She also supported the right of 23 women religious to endorse a 1985 ad in the New York Times opposing Catholic teaching on abortion.[xiii]

4. Are the participants in the ACC representative of the whole Catholic Church?

Answer: No.
In fact, the ACC requires those wishing to participate to fill out a form designed to attract only those who share its agenda. There appears to be no attempt to reach out to Catholics who fully support the teachings of the Magisterium, and Archbishop Vigneron was neither invited nor consulted about the conference.

5. Are there any valid aspirations of the ACC?

Answer: Yes.
All Catholics can agree with the general affirmations made by the ACC regarding the dignity of baptism, the beatitudes, and the sacramental celebration “of God’s love and presence.” These valid affirmations of basic Christian values, however, are obscured by the resistance of the ACC to the divinely constituted authority of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

6. Is the ACC fostering alienation from the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
Because a counter-structure of ecclesial authority is being set up that stands in opposition to the authority of the bishops, the Pope and the divine constitution of the Church as articulated by Vatican II.

7. What’s wrong with talking about controversial issues that are on the minds of many Catholics today?

Answer:
There’s nothing wrong with talking about these controversial issues. The question, though, is who has the authority to respond to these issues according to the mind of Christ and the Church. Vatican II states that “bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth.”[xiv] Because the ACC affirms a right to dissent from magisterial teachings, those discussing controversial issues at the conference will be subject to confusion and misinformation about what Catholics can and cannot hold.

8. Why can’t Archbishop Vigneron let people make up their own minds whether they wish to participate in this conference and the listening sessions being held in anticipation of it?

Answer:
Archbishop Vigneron is not taking away the right of people to make their own decisions. He has, however, issued warnings about the ACC because of his sacred responsibility to defend and uphold Catholic doctrine and guide the faithful with sound instruction. Like a good shepherd he is looking out for the well-being of his flock, and, as a faithful steward, he knows he must “one day render an account for their souls” (cf. Heb 13:17, Lumen Gentium, 27).


[i] Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10.

[ii] Lumen Gentium, 18

[iii] Lumen Gentium, 20.

[iv] Lumen Gentium, 12

[v] Lumen Gentium, 25.

[vi] Russell Shaw, “Call to Action Conference,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010 (Detroit and Washington, D.C.: Gale Cengage Learning and the Catholic University of America, 2010) Volume 1, p. 191.

[vii] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration regarding certain aspects of the theological doctrine of Professor Hans K?ng,” Acta Apostolicae Sedis 72 (1980): 90-92

[viii] See “Letter to the University of San Diego Supporting Academic Freedom and Rosemary Radford Ruether” (found on: http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/211/42/ ). The letter was written after the University of San Diego withdrew its invitation to appoint Rosemary Radford Ruether to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-2010. Although Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez has been an invited speaker to Church sponsored events, her support for Ruether is troubling.

[ix] Documentation from the writings of Dr. Padovano and the website of Corpus can be supplied.

[x] See review of Constantine’s Sword by Robert Louis Wilken in Commonweal (Jan. 26, 2001).

[xi] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, “A Call to Catholics,” Newsweek (November 5, 2009).

[xii] In the summer of 2001 Sr. Chittister ignored admonitions by the Church that she not appear as a speaker at the Women’s Ordination Conference held in Dublin, Ireland. See Patty McCarty, “Nuns Firm Under Fire – Women’s Ordination Conference, Dublin Ireland,” National Catholic Reporter (July 13, 2001).

[xiii] See Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B. “Joan Chittister: Disloyalty as Obedience,” Catholic Insight (Jan./Feb. 2002).

[xiv] Lumen Gentium, 25.

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Faith Advisory: Detroit Archbishop Vigneron issues warning on American Catholic Council, asks organizers to cancel…

 
Stating that the movement called American Catholic Council  distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II and causes alienation and estrangement of the faithful from the Church, Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit, Michigan, issued the following advisory:
 
Archdiocese of Detroit Statement on the American Catholic Council
Issued: October 12, 2010
Contact: Joe Kohn, infodesk@aod.org / (313) 237-5943

The Archdiocese of Detroit has been contacted by concerned members of the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council. Self-described as “bringing together a network of individuals, organizations, and communities to consider the state and future of our Church,” they have planned a national gathering in Detroit for the weekend of Pentecost 2011. The American Catholic Council movement and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.

Although their stated purpose is to “respond to the Spirit of Vatican II by summoning the Baptized together to demonstrate our re-commitment and the documents issued by the American Catholic Council offer some valid aspirations for the Church, in fact, the goals proposed are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired the Council.

The archdiocese wishes to commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal – the American Church Council’s agenda is not such an effort. Some of the advertised speakers and groups organizing the effort espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith, leading to alienation and estrangement from the Church. The Archdiocese of Detroit cautions any Catholic against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering in June 2011. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with the planning of the June 2011 American Catholic Council. Priests, deacons, and ecclesial lay ministers will want to avoid lending support to such a misguided effort. On behalf of the archdiocese, Archbishop Vigneron has asked the organizers to cancel their plans for this national gathering that distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II. He asks us all to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we may embrace authentic development of faith and morals, and shun efforts which threaten unity.

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